by Andreas Saugstad
The world is not always as we think it is. I do believe that human beings can have a true and veridical access to external reality, but many of our opinions are shaped by our culture and social context.
I think George Bush is such a person, who lacks the ability to go beyond conventionalism, and see how the world really is. I have paid attention to Bush in the media for a while now, and he always talks tabloid, never penetrating into the deep structure of phenomena.
One of those who radically differs from Bush, and always penetrates into the deep structure of political phenomena, is Johan Galtung (1930-). Norwegian scholar Johan Galtung is the founder of peace research as an academic discipline, professor at seven universities, and author of more than 50 books and 1,000 articles.
One of Galtung’s key concepts is structural violence. Often when we use the term “violence,” we think of direct or physical violence. But Galtung has seen how violence can have many faces, and that evil can exist in many subtle and evil ways. Structural violence is violence that does not hurt or kill through fists or guns or nuclear bombs, but through social structures that produce poverty, death and enormous suffering. Structural violence may be political, repressive, economic and exploitative, it occurs when the social order directly or indirectly causes human suffering and death.